How do you keep a kalanchoe houseplant healthy?

Asked November 4, 2013, 11:15 AM EST

I have a Calandiva Plant and I took off the dead buds like recommended. However, now it is beginning to turn black in that area and is spreading down the stem. I am not sure what to do! Thank you for your time.

Summit County Ohio

1 Response

Calandiva is a variety of a species of Kalanchoe--Kalanchoe blossfeldiana.

Kalanchoe are succulent plants. They like lots of sun and room temperatures, but not much water. During flowering, watering should be just enough to keep the top half of the potting soil from drying out. Then, during the rest period after flowering, just give it enough water to keep the entire pot of soil from drying out. Likewise, fertilize every 2-3 weeks during flowering and then stop the rest of the year. Blackened areas on a suculant are often associated with rots from too much water.

We could not find any direct reference to your plant's condition, though Kalanchoe can get black spots from too-dry air, which indicates powdery mildew if there is white around the black. In which case mist your plant occasionally, or otherwise increase the humidity around it. Some people do this by placing the pot on a tray of pebbles in water.

Some sources suggest enjoying kalanchoe flowers and then discarding the plant because of the difficulty in bringing them into flower again. Other references say to enjoy them for years, but the technique isn't simple. Here's an explanation of how to get it to flower again: